Could plastic waste be a good thing? Well, MacRebur, The Plastic Road Company says it could be. The Scottish firm says they can help eliminate the world’s plastic waste problem and improve infrastructure at the same time. MacRebur uses plastic that would otherwise end up in landfills to pave roads and fix potholes.
How Much Waste Do Plastic Roads Eliminate?
It takes about 684,000 plastic bottles or 1.8 million plastic bags to create enough mix to pave a one-kilometer road, according to BBC. To make their mix, MacRebur takes plastic rubbish and turns it into granules at their new Lockerbie plant.
Those granules are then mixed with an activator and other ingredients to bind the plastic. The product is then packaged and distributed to asphalt producers who use it as an additive in the road making process. MacRebur says their method also helps to reduce the level of fossil fuel that goes into the process by eliminating bitumen. CNN reports that using plastic replaces about 20 percent of the oil-based bitumen that is traditionally used to make asphalt roads.
Plastic Roads May Be More Durable Than Traditional Asphalt Roads
Not only is MacRebur’s method better for the environment but they say their plastic roads are 60 percent stronger. Their lab testing projects that their plastic roads could last up to three times longer. MacRebur’s plastic pellets have been used to make roads in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Our technology means that we can not only help solve the problem of plastic waste but also produce roads that cope better with changes in the weather, reducing cracks, and potholes,” McCartney told BBC.
Plastic Roads Make Financial Sense
McCartney says MacRebur’s plastic roads are more durable because of the flexible properties contained in plastic. The roads can even be recycled at the end of the lifespan, “creating a circular economy that is sustainable and cost-effective.” While some might disagree, McCartney says that plastic is a truly great product. You just have to look at it with the right eyes.
“It lasts for long, which is a problem if it’s a waste product, but not a problem if we want it to last,” says McCartney.